Lawsuit Filed by ACLU Regarding Transgender Identification Rights

Two transgender women filed lawsuits against the state of Illinois last week after its Department of Vital Records refused to change their birth certificates following sex reassignment surgery. The department claims that the surgery must be performed by a US-licensed physician in order for the birth certificate to be changed, which is a recent adjustment in the interpretation of the law. The plaintiffs, Victoria Kirk and Kari Rothkopf, both had sex reassignment surgery in Thailand, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The lawsuit argues “that a birth certificate is a fundamental document for any individual, and having a birth certificate that accurately reflects one’s gender is critical.” At a news conference, Kirk outlined the “significant” problems she would face without a corrected birth certificate, including the potential for harassment and violence if her identification identifies her as male despite her female appearance.

Illinois, according to the ACLU, which is representing Kirk and Rothkopf, is the only state that does not allow people who have sex reassignment operations outside of the US to change their gender marker on their birth certificates.


Chicago Tribune 1/28/09; ACLU 1/27/09

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